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Racism and Segregation 1930’s

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Racism during the 1930s remained a very real threat to the safety and opportunities of African-Americans in the United States. Decades of repressive policies in the country (particularly the Southern states) began to come under pressure by the New Deal programs of President Franklin Roosevelt. Though these New Deal programs did not end such repressive policies, they laid the groundwork for the eventual desegregation actions of the government during the 1950s. At this time, major organized groups for threatening African-Americans began to decline, but held enough sway in sentiment and power to defeat early attempts at civil rights. Segregation was still the standard practice of areas all over the country – separate schools, separate restaurants and even separate drinking fountains were commonplace, and legal measures existed to enforce these practices. Northern cities, especially heavy industrial areas receiving an influx of African-American population like New York City, increasingly used these practices as the Great Depression ravaged the country.Of greater note was racism in Europe during the 1930s, which was to lead in the next decade to the horrific events of the Holocaust.

During the time Adolf Hitler gained power in Germany, the Jewish people were viewed with hatred and suspicion for the perceived stereotype of Jewish control of world finances. Coupled with the total annihilation of German economic power following the first World War and the worldwide crippling of economies courtesy of the Great Depression, Hitler secured enough public support and compliance to begin extreme policies of repression and control for the Jewish populations of the country. Restrictions on who the Jewish people might marry, abolishing of civil rights and other economic limiters soon followed throughout the decade. During the 1930s, widespread exterminations had not yet begun (the major concentration camps were not built until the early 1940s), but early forms of concentration camps with high mortality rates were in use.

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